Measuring Students’ Self-Efficacy in Bullying Situations (page 2)
Bullying has been defined as purposefully harming another person repeatedly over time (9). A study of U.S. middle and high school students found 14.3% were bullies, 12.5% were victims, and 11.6% were bullies and victims (6). Recent media attention regarding bullying and the negative effects of victimization (for example, Lawrence King in California, Jaheem Herrera in Georgia and Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover in Massachusetts) is an unfortunate reminder of the continued need for researchers, policy makers, parents and guardians, school personnel, and students to understand the phenomenon of bullying.
Self efficacy may help us to further our knowledge regarding bullying and victimization. Self-efficacy refers to people’s belief in their ability to successfully achieve a desired outcome (2, 10 &11). It has been linked with specific behaviors related to bullying and school violence. Some of these behaviors include:
- having confidence that children can avoid violent behaviors (7)
- supporting peers who are bullied (5 & 13)
- preventing bully victims from becoming more aggressive (1)
- creating lower levels of violent conduct (4)
Researchers, to date, have not developed a measure to specifically examine self-efficacy for coping with bullying victimization. The development of such a measure may aid school personnel in identifying students who may be at increased risk for bullying victimization.
Since there is no published scale for measuring self-efficacy for coping with bullying situations, our research team has developed such a measure entitled the Kim Bullying Self-Efficacy Scale (KBSES) (8). This instrument was tested in a rural southeastern school district and three subscales were identified: knowledge, social resources, and action. These subscales were positively correlated with the Self-Reliance, Attitude to Teachers, Social Stress, and Anxiety scales on the Behavior Assessment System for Children, Second Edition (BASC-2) (12 & 8).
This investigation extends the initial developmental work with the KBSES by investigating its validity. The three primary goals of this validation study were to determine:
- whether items form the same three subscales as in the previous study
- relationships between the KBSES subscales and other scales that measure bullying victimization and self-efficacy
- behaviors related to bullying about which students felt most and least confident
Our Study’s Methods
The following section describes the three scales we used in our study:
1) Kim Bullying Self-Efficacy Scale (8)
- 26 items measuring self-efficacy of students’ ability to cope with bullying victimization
- 3rd grade reading level
- Approximately 25 minutes to less for students to complete
- Measures with three different subscales: Social Resources, Knowledge, and Action
2) Confidence Scale (3)
- 5 items measuring students’ confidence in their use of nonviolent strategies
- Researchers have found high scores on this scale were related to lower levels of bullying
3) Victimization Scale from the Student Survey of Bullying Behavior-Revised 2 (SSBB-R 2; 14)
- 12 item scale measuring bullying victimization across the dimensions of physical, verbal, and relational bullying
The following section highlights the demographics of our study:
- 152 elementary students in grades 3-5 from a rural southeastern public school
- 82 (54%) female and 69 (45%) male students with 1 (1%) who did not report gender
- 117 (76%) Caucasian/White, 21 (14%) African-American, 6 (4%) Hispanic, 3 (2%) Asian/Pacific Islander, 4 (3%) Other, and 1 (1%) who did not report ethnicity.
As found in the previous study (8), data analyses revealed the following three subscales:
- Knowledge items asking about children’s confidence about their knowledge of bullying;
- Action items assessing confidence about taking an action towards a bully;
- Social Resource items tapping the students’ confidence in their ability to gain assistance from others about bullying.
Data analyses also revealed relationships between the KBSES and other scales measuring self efficacy and bullying victimization. For example, higher scores on the Confidence Scale reflect students’ confidence that they can use non-violent strategies. As predicted, higher scores on this scale (reflecting higher confidence) were associated with higher scores on each of the subscales from the KBSES (reflecting higher self-efficacy). On the other hand, the Victimization Scale measuring students’ reports of being victimized showed no relationship to scores on the KBSES.
The top five items for high and low self-efficacy are presented below in Tables 1 & 2. These two tables illustrate which behaviors students felt the most and least self-efficacy for coping with bullying victimization.
|Table 1: Top 5 High Self-Efficacy Items||Percentage|
|Tell an adult you are being bullied||71%|
|Get help when you are bullied||70%|
|Know when your friends are bullying you or teasing you||69%|
|Know what to do when someone is bullying you||65%|
|Walk away from a bully||65%|
An example from Table 1 shows that 71% of the students who answered the item “How sure are you that you can tell an adult you are being bullied” reported high self-efficacy for being able to tell an adult. Of the top 5 high self-efficacy items, two were Social Resources items, two were Action items, and one was a Knowledge item.
Table 2: Top 5 Low Self-Efficacy Items
|Talk to a bully||43%|
|Talk about your feelings with your teachers about bullying||39%|
|Know what to do if someone is bullying you online||38%|
|Know if you are being bullied online||35%|
|Confront a bully||34%|
An example from Table 2 indicates that 43% of the students who answered the item “How sure are you that you can talk to a bully” reported that they were not confident in their ability to talk to a bully. Of the top 5 low self-efficacy items, two were Action items, two were Knowledge items, and one was a Social Resources item.
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